When Europe's armies first marched to war in 1914, some were still carrying lances on horseback. By the end of the war,
Rapid-fire guns, aerial bombardment, armored vehicle attacks, and chemical weapon deployments were commonplace. Any romantic notion of warfare was bluntly shoved aside by the advent of chlorine gas, massive explosive shells that could have been fired from more than 20 miles away, and machine guns that spat out bullets like firehoses. Each side did its best to build on existing technology, or invent new methods, hoping to gain any advantage over the enemy. Massive listening devices gave them ears in the sky, armored vehicles made them impervious to small arms fire, tanks could (most of the time) cruise right over barbed wire and trenches, telephones and heliographs let them speak across vast distances, and airplanes gave them new platforms to rain death on each other from above. New scientific work resulted in more lethal explosives, new tactics made old offensive methods obsolete, and mass-produced killing machines made soldiers both more powerful and more vulnerable.
The WW2 war machines that battled for supremacy on the front lines:
These expertly colourised photographs show the war machines of the Second World War like they've never been seen before.
The tanks that fought epic duels in the North African desert, among European towns and in the jungles of Asia have been brought stunningly to life.
Fascinating pictures show a British commander and Indian crew in a Sherman tank as they encounter an elephant in Burma, a French Army Sherman landing on Normandy beach and an American M10 tank firing near Saint Lo.
Other incredible shots show American tank destroyers moving forward during heavy fog to stem the German offensive during the Battle of the Bulge, a German Tiger Tank driving at speed and Sherman tanks carrying infantry at the start of Operation Goodwood in Normandy.
The old photographs were brought back to life after being painstakingly colourised by design engineer Paul Reynolds, 48, from Birmingham.
He said: 'I don't really have a message to convey, the content of the photo does that, however I am glad that by colourising these photos more people are aware of the happenings of World War One and World War Two.'
The M4 Sherman, officially named the Medium Tank M4, was the most widely used medium tank by the United States and the Western allies in the Second World War. The M4 Sherman proved to be reliable, relatively cheap to produce, and possible to create in great numbers. Pictured above is a British Army Sherman during the campaign to liberate Normandy in 1944. These old photographs have been brought back to life after being painstakingly colourised by design engineer Paul Reynolds, 48, from Birmingham. He explained his motivation: 'I think colourising detailed photos really brings them to life - you notice detail that usually get missed due to the monotone background'
The tanks that fought epic duels in the North African desert, among European towns and in the jungles of Asia have been brought stunningly to life. This 1943 photograph shows Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery, leader of British Army forces during the campaign to chase the Nazis out of North Africa, standing by a camouflaged M3 Lee tank. The American tanks, first built in 1941, were named after General Robert E Lee, the man who commanded the Confederate forces in the American Civil War. But when modified by the British, they were known as 'Grants' - named after the Union general Ulysses S Grant. British Lees and Grants first saw action against Nazi general Erwin Rommel in the Battle of Gazala, Libya in 1942. The Axis forces defeated the Allies
The British commander and Indian crew of a Sherman tank from the 9th Royal Deccan Horse, 255th Indian Tank Brigade, encounter a newly liberated elephant on the road to Meiktila, Burma on March 29, 1945. The Burma campaign, which sought to clear the Japanese out of South Asia, was brought close to its conclusion after victories at the Battle of Meiktila and Mandalay. Led by Field Marshal William Slim, the Allies defeated the Japanese after winning air supremacy - and went on to seize the Burmese capital, Rangoon. Colouriser Paul Reynolds explained his motivation for bringing such photographs to life: 'I colourise these photos to bring our past to a new generation of people. Many of my colourisations on my Facebook page get viewed by tens of thousands of people - many from the 16 to 24 age group'
Tanks were an essential part of the Allies' plan to invade the Nazi empire by landing on the beaches of Normandy. Pictured above is an American M10 tank destroyer, evidently named 'Bessie', after making ground in 1944. Colouriser Paul Reynolds said: 'I don't really have a message to convey, the content of the photo does that, however I am glad that by colourising these photos more people are aware of the happenings of World War One and World War Two'
Pictured: An M36 Jackson tank destroyer during the Battle of the Bulge. American soldiers who operated the tank often named it simply 'TD', the initials for 'tank destroyer'. At the time of the Battle of the Bulge - the last major offensive by the Germans during the Second World War - there were several hundred in operation. The battle, which followed a surprise attack by the Nazis in the Ardennes Forest region of Belgium and Luxembourg, featured vicious tank duels between the Allies and Germans amid the freezing cold winter of 1944-1945. In mid-January, however, it was clear the Allies had won and that the offensive had been a disaster for the Nazis
This fascinating photograph shows a submerged Sherman tank being recovered from the River Biferno, near Campo-Marino in Italy, during October 1943. The Allied campaign to destroy fascist Italy began in 1943 and ended in the spring of 1945. There were nearly 1.5million casualties during the bloody struggle, alongside thousands of tanks and aircraft. From September 1943, the Italian Royal Army joined the Allies in the hope of liberating their country from fascism
American-built Sherman tanks of the Staffordshire Yeomanry, 27th Armoured Brigade, carrying infantry from the Third Division, move up at the start of Operation Goodwood, Normandy, on July 18, 1944. Goodwood, which occurred between July 18 and 20 in Normandy, involved an estimated 1,100 British tanks and several hundred Nazi tanks. It is believed to be one of the biggest tank battles in British military history, with hundreds of British armoured vehicles being destroyed and nearly 3,500 troops being killed or wounded
A British Sherman tank advancing near Catania, Sicily, on August 4, 1943. Catania was severely bombed during the Second World War from 1940 until its liberation in August 1943 by the British 8th Army. The Germans evacuated the city on August 5, 1943, but years earlier - starting on June 5, 1940 - around 100,000 people had been moved to neighbouring villages
35th Infantry Division Halftrack and Panzer IV (left) during the Battle of the Bulge in 1945. The Panzer IV was a German medium tank developed in the late 1930s and used extensively throughout the Second World War. Nearly 8,500 of the tanks were built, making it the commonest Nazi tank of the war. About 300 were also sold to Finland, Romania, Bulgaria and Spain, and they even ended up being used by Syrians in the 1967 war with Israel
A French Army Sherman tank lands on a beach in Normandy after disembarking from the USS LST-517 on August 2, 1944. Since its design in 1940, an astonishing 49,234 of the ubiquitous Sherman tanks were manufactured. They appeared in the Arab-Israeli wars, the Vietnam War and Indo-Pakistan War of 1965, among many others
An American M10 firing near Saint Lo, June 1944. The M10 was a tank destroyer designed in 1942 and widely deployed during the Second World War. It was manufactured by Ford and General Motors. The M10, of which 6,406 were built, used a three-inch M1918 gun to smash shells into the armour of enemy tanks
A Matilda II tank of the 7th Royal Tank Regiment in the Western Desert, 19 December 1940. The Matilda II was an infantry tank - designed to support troops as they came under heavy fire - designed in 1937 and used between 1939 and 1945. The tanks were heavily armoured but, as a consequence, very slow. Unlike other tanks, they were not adept at pushing quickly behind enemy lines and seizing territory. But there were still 2,987 of the tanks built, many of which being deployed in North Africa
The Germans' most common tank was the Tiger I (officially known as Panzerkampfwagen VI Tiger Ausf H). It was deployed on all German fronts during the Second World War. The formidable tank weighed 50 tons (54 metric tons) and was heavily armoured. About 1,350 Tiger tanks were produced in total between August 1942 and August 1944. In 1943, the Tiger II was introduced. Only 492 of the Tiger IIs were built, but they were feared among Allied forces for their power and armour
Pictured: AN M4 Sherman stuck in Okinawa Stream. The devastating 82-day Battle of Okinawa was one of the bloodiest in the Pacific War, with 20,195 Americans dying and an estimated 100,000 Japanese
Pictured: A Sherman tank in Frisa, Italy, driven by British troops. To the tank's left are Indian troops helping in the struggle to liberate the Italians from the control of fascism
American tank destroyers move forward during heavy fog to stem German offensive during the Battle of the Bulge. The picture was taken near Werbomont, Belgium, on December 20, 1944
An Allied M10 tank destroyer driving through the ruins of Rohrwiller, in the far west of France, in February 1945. Three months after this photograph was taken, the Nazis surrendered and the world began to recover from the cataclysm of the Second World War
Pictured: A German Tiger Tank being cleaned by troops. The heavy tank became one of the most notorious of the war, considered to be of a superior design but featuring many flaws and and suffering from various complications
Pictured: A captured Soviet JS-2 heavy tank with German writing on the side explaining that it is designated for the Wehrmacht Surpreme Command
A self-propelled howitzer M7 Priest of the 14th Armored Field Artillery Battalion of the 2nd Armored Division at the intersection of Holgate Street and the railway line between Paris and Cherbourg
Pictured: An American M26 Pershing medium tank, of which 2,212 were produced during the Second World War. They were also used during the Korean War
American troops using a newly-developed acoustic locator, mounted on a wheeled platform. The large horns amplified distant sounds, monitored through headphones worn by a crew member, who could direct the platform to move and pinpoint distant enemy aircraft. Development of passive acoustic location accelerated during World War I, later surpassed by the development of radar in the 1940s.(National Archives)
An Austrian armored train in Galicia, ca, 1915. Adding armor to trains dates back to the American Civil War, used as a way to safely move weapons and personnel through hostile territory. (Library of Congress) #
The interior of an armored train car, Chaplino, Dnipropetrovs'ka oblast, Ukraine, in the spring of 1918. At least nine heavy machine guns are visible, as well as many ammunition cases. (Southern Methodist University, Central University Libraries, DeGolyer Library) #
A German communications squad behind the Western front, setting up using a tandem bicycle power generator to power a light radio station in September of 1917. (National Archive/Official German Photograph of WWI) #
Allied advance on Bapaume, France, ca. 1917. Two tanks are moving towards the left, followed by troops. In the foreground some soldiers are sitting and standing at the roadside. One of them appears to be having a drink. Beside the men is what appears to be a rough wooden cross with an Australian or New Zealand service hat on it. In the background other troops are advancing, moving field guns and mortars. (National Library of Scotland) #
Soldier on a U.S. Harley-Davidson motorcycle, ca. 1918. During the last years of the war, the United States deployed more than 20,000 Indian and Harley-Davidson motorcycles overseas. (San Diego Air and Space Museum) #
British Medium Mark A Whippet tanks advance past the body of a dead soldier, moving to an attack along a road near Achiet-le-Petit, France, on August 22, 1918. The Whippets were faster and lighter than previously deployed British heavy tanks.(National Library of New Zealand) #
A German soldier rubs down massive shells for the 38 cm SK L/45, or "Langer Max" rapid firing railroad gun, ca. 1918. The Langer Max was originally designed as a battleship weapon, later mounted to armored rail cars, one of many types of railroad artillery used by both sides during the war. The Langer Max could fire a 750 kg (1,650 lb) high explosive projectile up to 34,200 m (37,400 yd).(National Archive/Official German Photograph of WWI) #
German infantrymen from Infanterie-Regiment Vogel von Falkenstein Nr.56 adopt a fighting pose in a communication trench somewhere on the the Western Front. Both soldiers are wearing gas masks and Stahlhelm helmets, with brow plate attachments called stirnpanzers. The stirnpanzer was a heavy steel plate used for additional protection for snipers and raiding parties in the trenches, where popping your head above ground for a look could be lethal move. (Brett Butterworth) #
A British false tree, a type of disguised observation post used by both sides.(Australian official photographs/State Library of New South Wales) #
Turkish troops use a heliograph at Huj, near aza City, in 1917. A heliograph is a wireless solar telegraph that signals by flashes of sunlight usually using Morse code, reflected by a mirror. (Library of Congress) #
An experimental Red Cross vehicle designed to protect the wounded while gathering them from trenches during World War I, ca. 1915. The narrow wheels and low clearance would likely make this design ineffective in the chaotic and muddy front line landscape.(Library of Congress) #
U.S. soldiers in trench putting on gas masks. Behind them, a signal rocket appears to be in mid-launch. When gas attacks were detected, alarms used included gongs and signal rockets. (Library of Congress) #
A disused German trench-digging machine, January 8, 1918. The vast majority of the thousands of miles of trenches were dug by hand, but some had mechanical assistance. (San Diego Air and Space Museum Archive) #
A German soldier holds the handset of a field telephone to his head, as two others hold a spool of wire, presumably unspooling it as they head into the field. (National Archives) #
Western front, loading a German A7V tank onto a railroad flat car. Fewer than a hundred A7Vs were ever produced, the only tanks manufactured by Germany that they used in the war. German troops did manage to capture and make use of a number of allied tanks, however. (National Archives/Official German Photograph) #
False horses, camouflage to allow snipers a place to hide in no-man's land. (U.S. Army Signal Corps/Brett Butterworth) #
Women working in the welding Department of the Lincoln Motor Co., in Detroit, Michigan, ca. 1918.(U.S. Army Signal Corps/Library of Congress) #
A duel between tank and flamethrower, on the edge of a village, ca. 1918.(Der Weltkrieg im Bild/Upper Austrian Federal State Library) #
Derelict tanks lie strewn about a chaotic battlefield at Clapham Junction, Ypres, Belgium, ca. 1918.(James Francis Hurley/State Library of New South Wales) #
A German soldier holds a camera, standing in front of a destroyed British Mark IV (female) tank and the burned remains of its crew in 1917. (Deutsches Bundesarchiv) #
Gas masks in use in Mesopotamia in 1918. (Bibliotheque nationale de France) #
Americans setting up a French 37mm gun known as a "one-pounder" on the parapet of a second-line trench at Dieffmattch, Alsace, France, where their command, the 126th Infantry, was located, on June 26, 1918. (U.S. Army) #
American troops aboard French-built Renault FT-17 tanks head for the front line in the Forest of Argonne, France, on September 26, 1918. (NARA) #
A German aviator's suit is equipped with electrically heated face mask, vest, and fur boots. Open cockpit flight meant pilots had to endure sub-freezing conditions. (National Archives/Official German Photograph) #
British Mark I tank, apparently painted in camouflage, flanked by infantry soldiers, mules and horses. (National Library of Scotland) #
A Turkish artillery squad at Harcira, in 1917. Turkish troops with a German 105 mm light field howitzer M98/09. (Library of Congress) #
Irish Guards line up for a gas mask drill on the Somme, in September of 1916. (Nationaal Archief) #
The Holt gas-electric tank, the first American tank, in 1917. The Holt did not get beyond the prototype stage, proving too heavy and inefficient in design. (AP Photo) #
On the site where a steel bridge was destroyed, a wooden temporary bridge has been built in place. Note that an English tank which fell in the river when the former bridge was demolished now serves as part of the foundation for the new bridge over the Scheldt at Masnieres. (National Archives/Official German Photograph) #
Telegraph office, Room 15, Elysee Palace Hotel, Paris, France, Major R.P. Wheat in charge. September 4, 1918.(U.S. Army Signal Corps) #
German officers with an armored car, Ukraine, Spring of 1918.(Southern Methodist University, Central University Libraries, DeGolyer Library) #
An unidentified member of the 69th Australian Squadron, later designated No. 3 Australian Flying Corps, fixes incendiary bombs to an R.E.8 aircraft at the AFC airfield north west of Arras. The entire squadron was operating from Savy (near Arras) on October 22, 1917, having arrived there on September 9, after crossing the channel from the UK. (Australian War Memorial) #
Seven or eight machine-gun crews are ready to set out on a sortie in France, ca. 1918. Each crew consists of two men, the driver on a motorbike and the gunner sitting in an armored sidecar. (National Library of Scotland) #
New Zealand troops and the tank "Jumping Jennie" in a trench at Gommecourt Wood, France, on August 10, 1918.(Henry Armytage Sanders/National Library of New Zealand) #
A German column looks over a destroyed English anti-aircraft vehicle, bodies, empty belts and cartridge boxes strewn about.(CC-BY-SA 3.0 F. Lorenz) #
U.S. Soldiers in training, about to enter a tear gas trench at Camp Dix, New Jersey, ca. 1918. (Keystone View Company) #
German troops load gas projectors. Attempting to exploit a loophole in international laws against the uses of gas in warfare, some German officials noted that only gas projectiles appeared to be specifically banned, and that no prohibition could be found against simply releasing deadly chemical weapons and allowing th wind to carry it to the enemy.(National Archive/Official German Photograph of WWI) #
Flanders front. Gas attack, September, 1917. (National Archive/Official German Photograph of WWI) #
French lookouts posted in a barbed-wire-covered trench. The use of barbed wire in warfare was recent, having only been used for the first time in limited form during the Spanish-American War. All sides in World War I used extensive networks of barbed wire entanglements to prevent ground troops from moving forward. The effectiveness of the wire drove the development of technologies like the tank, and wire-cutting explosive shells set to detonate the instant they made contact with a wire.(Bibliotheque nationale de France) #
American and French photographic staff, France, 1917. (U.S. National Archives/Harry Kidd) #
The original caption reads: "The Italian collapse in Venezia. The heedless flight of the Italians to the Tagliamento. Captured heavy and gigantic cannon in a village behind Udine. November 1917". Pictured is an Obice da 305/17, a huge Italian howitzer, one of fewer than 50 produced during the war. (National Archive/Official German Photograph of WWI) #
Western front, Flammenwerfers (flame throwers) in use. (National Archive/Official German Photograph of WWI) #
A patient is examined in a mobile radiology lab, belonging to the French Army, ca. 1914. (Bibliotheque nationale de France) #
A British-made Mark IV tank, captured and re-painted by Germans, now abandoned in a small wood.(Nicolas Joseph Gustave Crouvezier/CC BY SA Archives municipales de Nancy)
Sunday, December 10, 2017
Posted by ASC at 9:45 AM